Childhood friends create map of towns after trip down memory lane

Huntingdon Prep School in 1945.

Huntingdon Prep School in 1945. - Credit: RICHARD ELLIS

Three childhood friends from Huntingdon and Godmanchester made the most of their time during lockdown by taking a trip down memory lane to produce maps of the towns as they remembered them during World War Two.

Richard Ellis, who now lives in Cheshire, told The Hunts Post those discussions brought back floods of memories between the trio, which allowed him to draw maps on his computer and signpost streets, businesses and landmarks.

Richard said: “We wanted to recall the scenes that were around us as children and, as a result, I was able to piece the jigsaw together on my computer. The project took over a year to research, but we now have some detailed maps of the two towns during World War Two.”

While there weren’t many surprises uncovered, Richard does recall a particular story: “If we forgot our pack-lunches, we would visit the British Restaurant at Trinity Church, which was off the High Street in Huntingdon, and pay sixpence for a meal. Sadly, the church no longer exists, but that is a memory that stands out.”

Reflecting on the journey, Richard confessed he and his friends, David Ashpole and Chris Garrard, found the experience emotional – but because of remembering those that are sadly no longer with us.

He added: “The project sparked ideas and thoughts about what we got up to as children, what it was like to live in a war-torn environment.

“Portholme, a 100-acre green between Huntingdon and Godmanchester, was said to be a popular landing spot for German paratroopers. As a result, the British would dig trenches and install concrete blocks and poles with wires to try prevent them from doing so.

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“A Wellington bomber crashed there during the war, while the famous Godmanchester Stirling bomber hurtled into the ground near Cow Lane in Godmanchester. Ultimately, there’s stories behind the maps.”

Richard said he doubted if any of the businesses still existed but didn’t rule out investigating that possibility in the future. He added: “The Market Inn in Huntingdon is where David lived, so some of the buildings remain but have different uses now.”

Flood in Post Street in Godmanchester in 1947. 

Flood in Post Street in Godmanchester in 1947. - Credit: HUNTS POST

The Avenue, in Godmanchester, in 1947.

The Avenue, in Godmanchester, in 1947. - Credit: HUNTS POST